May 29th, 2012
05:12 PM ET
2 years ago

Blitzer and Trump go at it over Trump's 'birther' claims

(CNN) - Donald Trump did not back down Tuesday from his questioning of President Barack Obama's birthplace, instead arguing heatedly with CNN's Wolf Blitzer that "a lot of people do not think it was an authentic certificate," though he declined to offer names of experts who agree with him.

The issue of Obama's birth - litigated in the 2008 presidential campaign, then settled when the Obama White House released the longform version of the certificate in April 2011 - is being brought to the fore in no small part by Trump, who is also set to fundraise alongside presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney Tuesday evening.

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On CNN's "The Situation Room" Tuesday, Trump maintained that Obama's birthplace is a matter of opinion, rather than fact.

"Everybody's entitled to your opinion," he said. "You know my opinion and you know his opinion and that's fine. We're entitled - as he said yesterday in the airplane - we're all entitled to our opinions and he's entitled to have his opinion. I don't happen to share that opinion, it's wonderful."

Blitzer presented Trump with newspaper announcements of Obama's birth from 1961.

Trump interrupted, "Can you stop defending Obama?"

"Donald, you're beginning to sound a little ridiculous, I have to tell you," Blitzer replied.

"You are, Wolf," Trump fired back. "Let me tell you something, I think you sound ridiculous."

Trump then alleged that the practice of filing U.S. birth announcements for an overseas birth was commonplace, though he offered no evidence.

"Many people put those announcements in because they wanted to get the benefits of being so-called born in this country," Trump said. "Many people did it."

Obama's longform birth certificate showed he was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961 and was acknowledged as authentic by state officials. Natural born American citizenship is one of the Constitutional requirements for the presidency.

"Is it the most important thing?" Trump asked in an interview earlier on Tuesday. "In a way it is. You're not allowed to be the president if you're not born in the country."

Trump finds himself at odds with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, whose spokeswoman pointed out in an email statement that "Governor Romney has said repeatedly that he believes President Obama was born in the United States."

But Romney made no effort to distance himself from the comments, even when presented with the opportunity by reporters on Monday.

"You know, I don't agree with all the people who support me and my guess is they don't all agree with everything I believe in," Romney said when asked about the issue. "But I need to get 50.1% or more and I'm appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people."

Trump said he has not spoken about the birther issue with Romney

"I haven't talked to Mitt Romney about it," he said. "What I speak to Mitt Romney about is jobs. What I speak to Mitt Romney about is China, because he's got a great view on China and how they're taking our jobs and taking our product and manipulating their currency so it makes it almost impossible for our companies to compete."

Trump spoke by phone with Blitzer in the interview from Las Vegas, where he and Romney will fundraise with former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.

Obama's campaign released a web video on Tuesday that said the 2008 GOP nominee "John McCain stood up to the voices of extremism in his party… Why won't Mitt Romney do the same?" In the video, McCain is seen addressing a woman who called Obama an "Arab," saying, "He's a decent family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with."

The president's deputy campaign manager suggested Romney's alliance with Trump in light of the tycoon's statements calls into question how he would serve as president.

"Mitt Romney's continued embrace of Donald Trump and refusal to condemn his disgraceful conspiracy theories demonstrates his complete lack of moral leadership," Stephanie Cutter said in a Tuesday afternoon statement. "If Mitt Romney lacks the backbone to stand up to a charlatan like Donald Trump because he's so concerned about lining his campaign's pockets, what does that say about the kind of President he would be?"

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday the White House was forced to address the issue last year, "but not because we chose to, but because it was such a ridiculous distraction from the important business that we should be doing here that the president is committed to doing and Congress should be doing to help the economy grow and help it create jobs."

"We can revisit that but I think the American people are pretty fed up with this kind of nonsense," he said.

As evidence of his claims, Trump pointed to a biographical note published in the 1990s by Obama's literary agent, which said Obama was born in Kenya.

The literary agent recently apologized for the mistake.

Also see:

Romney likely to hit 'magic number' on Tuesday

Texas gears up for Lone Star primary

Romney doesn't back away from 'birther' Trump


Filed under: 2012 • Birthers • Donald Trump • Mitt Romney
soundoff (1,069 Responses)
  1. frhoads

    Trump is a brainless twit, as are those that consume this conspiratorial claptrap.

    May 29, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. johnborg

    Honestly, I believe this is subconscious racism. Really. Romney's genealogical past is just as sketchy – his father was born in Mexico. John McCain was born on a military base, but in Panama. Why aren't people calling for an investigation of Romney. Where's his birth certificate? And if he shows it, how do we know that its legitimate? I'm not arguing that Romney needs to do this; I'm arguing how absurd this entire controversy is. Obama was born in Hawaii – it makes historical sense, with or without a birth certificate (which he has shown, by the way).

    May 29, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  3. Kris Craig

    Wow, Blitzer's about as straight of an arrow as you can get without an ironing board. Unless it's sports-related, it's absolutely unheard-of to see this guy editorialize on-air!

    So if even he finds it necessary to say you're full of it, that should tell you something.

    May 29, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  4. cali girl

    He just wants to be in his 15 minutes.

    May 29, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  5. robtax

    Obama may be a disaster in many ways, but it seems like the choice today is stick with the disaster I know or try a new brand of craziness.

    May 29, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  6. Ex-GOP Con

    ==============
    Why do these reporters suck at interviewing? Why haven't they aske Trump if he has asked for Rich Money's birth certificate yet?
    ==============

    May 29, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  7. JohnRJohnson

    I am now completely convinced that Donald Trump is a racist.

    May 29, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  8. brian

    How can someone's birthplace be a matter of "opinion"? That notwithstanding, what the hell does his birthplace have to do with anything. Let me remind "The Donald" that you don't have to be born on American soil to be a natural born citizen.

    May 29, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    Tramp is on a roll. And when it comes to Mittens, he apparently found his Lady. Attagirl, Mittens, attagirl.

    May 29, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  10. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Oh Donald, you petulant fool... Just go away with your cotton candy "hair"!

    May 29, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    Sounds like Tramp's been sorting "bath salts" again.

    May 29, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  12. Mark Porter

    There are many people that say The Donald is Gay, and I mean when people are saying a thing then you have to think 'is it true?' Now, I can't name names, but many people are saying it.

    May 29, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  13. JimL

    Trump almost seems like he is bordering on mild insanity. What's next..... the earth is flat? It appears Mr Romney will do anything for a buck. I wonder what he has promised The Donald in return? The GOP is in sad shape.... I love it!!! Four more years!

    May 29, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  14. JohnRJohnson

    I take that back. Trump isn't a racist. He's an idiot.

    May 29, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  15. SomeNameHere

    Wowsie wowsie. This birther lunacy proves that the GOPers have nothing of substance to criticize the president for. In 2009 they whined about teleprompters. Then they whined about the passing of GOP-styled health care reform. They've got nothing on this president and they know it. The Prez even beat them on foreign policy and tax cuts (so far). Hey GOP...is this all you got? Really? Birtherism? Fools. Silly little fools.

    May 29, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  16. dd

    he and bill maher both have a case of more money then brains...

    May 29, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  17. Shannon

    Are there any sane Republicans left, Romney should be ashamed to stand on the same stage with this man. Of course Romney would do or say anything to win, standing along side this lunatic proves that.

    May 29, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  18. Paul

    Just a question. Just looking for the facts: Did, or did not Obama at some point in his life present himself as someone who was born in Kenya? Please, no mame calling. What are the factual answers to that question?

    May 29, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  19. Annie R.

    Sounds like real issues will not win the race for Romney so he's scraping the bottom. And who better to help him but a bottom feeder like Trump. This guy thinks what he says matters. Not to me. He is one of the most tirelessly arrogant and self centered people currently walking on this earth. Enough already with the birth certificate. Are you seriously kidding us?

    May 29, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  20. MAX

    trump is as silly as that Thing he wears on his head... whatever the hell it is. F A I L

    May 29, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  21. Lar 5

    Romney you have been Trumped... Game over. Or don't you get it?

    May 29, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "How can someone's birthplace be a matter of "opinion"?"

    Because, when it coes to the MSM, there si no such thing as "fact." Blitzer, the sniveling little weasel, should have kicked Tramp right off the godd-mn show when he called Blitzer ridiculous. Enough is enough. I would have been infuriated by that kind fo behavior from ANYONE if it were my show and I would've let him know it no matter how rich and supposedly powerful he is. His money going to protect him from a fist to the forehead? Grow a pair and speak truth to power, CNN. These jackholes will pollute our political discourse with lie after lie after lie, fabricating the most outrageous nonsense they can come up with BECAUSE THE MSM GIVES THEM A FREE PASS AND THEN DISCUSSES IT LIKE IT DESERVES LEGITIMATE DEBATE. IT DOES NOT. This kind of trash shouuld be given a thorough fact-check curb stomping, but instead, it's treated with kid gloves because they're so afraid of being accused of bias.

    May 29, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  23. beelzabarber

    Trump is too stupid to be racist. At least racists do some research and have some stats so they can appear intelligent. Can we please revoke Trumps citizenship (if he ACTUALLY IS a citizen) and have him deported...somewhere.

    May 29, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  24. Kelcy, Colorado

    First......Is Donald Trump a legal citizen? He should have to provide proof that he was actually born here in the US. How do we know his mother was not on a secret overseas trip at the time. Clearly even the actual long form of a birth certificate would be insufficient, let alone verification by any state official from the state of NY. If he can`t prove it to my satisfaction he should be deported.

    Second, I think The Donald has shown the onsest of frontal lobe dementia and should be put away while the disease progresses. (And that is being charitable..... it is quite possible he is just nuts.)

    May 29, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    anoel2005

    If Bush had written a book in which he said "I was born in Kenya." How long would it be before the Democrats would have him impeached for lying to the American people when he took his oath?

    Instead we have a President who said he was born in Kenya in his own books and we are called racists for bringing it up.
    =========================

    No where has Mr. Obama ever said he was born in Kenya. THAT would have been a lie easily researched through his birth records in Hawaii - because he WAS born in Hawaii.

    We do have lots of people who will believe and repeat anything just to keep the cycle going. You would be one of those people. Donald Trump is another such.

    I'll leave it for others to decide what is behind the lies.

    May 29, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
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